Archive for the News Category

Serpentine Delights

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2015 by LillianC

by Lillian Csernica

 

Today is St. Patrick’s Day!  Pious legend tells us that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland.

 

Pagans: The Metaphorical Snakes

“…Scholars suggest the tale is allegorical. Serpents are symbols of evil in the Judeo-Christian tradition—the Bible, for example, portrays a snake as the hissing agent of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace.

The animals were also linked to heathen practices—so St. Patrick’s dramatic act of snake eradication can be seen as a metaphor for his Christianizing influence.”

–James Owen, National Geographic

Well, the snakes aren’t taking this lying down!  In the wonderful world of the movies, quite a few directors have given the snakes the upper hand.  Feel like supporting the downtrodden snakes?  Looking for something scary to take the shine off all the shamrocks and pots o’ gold?  Watch some of these tributes to reptilian menace!

 

Sssssss (1973)

A remarkably bad movie, “Sssssss” features Dirk Benedict of “Battlestar Galactica” and “The A-Team” fame as David, a college student looking for work.  Dr. Stoner hires David to be his lab assistant.  That turns out to be a very euphemistic job description.  David begins to fall in love with Dr. Stoner’s daughter Kristina, played by the Heather Locklear of the ’70s, Heather Menzies.  If you wanted a hot blonde in your movie, Heather Menzies was the first choice.  Dr. Stoner is at work on a secret serum aimed at creating a new, improved King Cobra.  He just needs the right kind of lab rat for the final trial.  If MST3K had been around when this movie was made, “Sssssss” would have been perfect fodder for comedy and sarcasm.  If you’re looking for an attractive cast doing some really strange things in low-budget makeup, pop yourself a big bowl of popcorn and settle in for some fun.

New Alcatraz (2001)

Former star of “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” Dean Cain leads the team that goes to the site in the Antarctic where a supermax prison is being built, one that will house the worst of the worst criminals.  There’s a mining operation within the prison complex.  The miners have discovered an unusual rock formation.  In the fine tradition of “what man was not meant to know,” the scientists go poking around and wake up the unpleasant prehistoric creature trapped inside the formation.   Will the scientists and the small group of soldiers manage to defeat the creature before they too succumb to its scaly rampage?  Wrap up warm and watch this one with the lights out!

 

King Cobra (1999)

Continuing our theme of TV stars who really should have known better, among the cast of this snake-gone-wild flick is Pat Morita from “The Karate Kid” movies and Erik Estrada, best known as Officer Poncherello on “CHiPs.”  This time around Dr. Irwin Burns is the maverick scientist conducting unwise experiments with a drug that will make humans and animals more aggressive.  Among the good doctor’s test subjects is Seth, half African King Cobra and half Eastern Diamondback.  These are two bad ass species of snakes to begin with, so when Dr. Burns shoots Seth up with the Aggro Elixir, all hell breaks loose and Seth escapes.

Python (2000)

A military plane crashes, allowing the giant man-eating snake that was its cargo to escape and menace the small town nearby.  This time around the scientist is the good guy.  Between his knowledge of herpetology and several locals armed to the teeth, the humans will taken on this mutant nightmare.  Yes, that is a silly plot.  This is a perfect vehicle for Casper Van Dien, king of the B-movie action flick.  The helpful scientist is played by horror icon Robert Englund, who gets all the best lines and makes the most of them.  No monster movie is complete without its gorgeous scream queen.  Believe it or not, Jenny McCarthy herself appears in this scaly version of “High Noon.”

 

William Katt, star of “Carrie” and “House,” must have enjoyed working with snakes.  His filmography includes two monster snake movies that must be seen to be believed.

Rattled (1996)

Here we have another cautionary tale about man’s intrusion into unspoiled nature having dire consequences.  William Katt plays Paul Donohue, the brilliant mind behind the design of a new development for a small community.  (One wonders why such a top notch architect is working in such a remote location.)  When breaking ground, construction crews may well discover items they did not expect, such as the bones of First Nations tribes or even older archaeological artifacts.  Nothing so ancient lies in wait here.  There are, however, hundreds of extremely annoyed rattlesnakes shaken out of their lairs by all of the construction crew’s blasting.  Having been forcibly evicted from their hunting grounds, the rattlesnakes are looking to relocate.  Moving is always stressful, and of course it makes the snakes work up quite and appetite!

Snake Island (2002)

This is an entertaining variation on the “car breaks down near a scary old house” plot.  The movie opens with a happy group of American tourists traveling down an African river, seeing the sights.  Circumstances force them to land on Snake Island.  Those circumstances get a whole lot worse when the intrepid explorers are trapped on the island overnight.  There are snakes.  Thousands of mean, nasty, and above all poisonous snakes, and they do not appreciate trespassers.

 

Anaconda (1997)

A National Geographic documentary crew goes to the Amazon.  They probably know what they’re doing, right?  They do, but they are not prepared for the hidden agenda of the hunter they meet along the way.  This guy is nuts.  He is the Captain Ahab of the Amazon, and his White Whale is the biggest, most lethal snake on the planet.  This is one of those movies I would watch just to see how this cast works with each other.  Jennifer Lopez and Kari Wuhrer must cope with the insane hunter and his monstrous prey, accompanied by John Voight, Ice Cube, Eric Stoltz, Owen Wilson, Johnathan Hyde, Danny Trejo, and even the great voice actor Frank Welker as the voice of the Anaconda!  I may have to go watch this again!

 

 Snakes on a Plane (2006)

No list of snake movies could possibly be complete without this masterpiece of humor and horror.  The great Samuel L. Jackson plays FBI agent Neville Flynn, responsible for transporting a key witness from Hawaii to Los Angeles so he can testify against big time mobster Eddie Kim.  In the cargo hold is a nasty surprise from Mr. Kim designed to make sure the witness never makes it to L.A. alive.  A crate full of snakes would be bad enough, but Mr. Kim takes additional precautions to make absolutely sure his plan succeeds.  Snakes don’t really bother me, not the way spiders do, so I thought I could watch this movie just for the fun of Samuel L. Jackson.  Oh no.  I was jumping and shrieking and hiding my eyes along with most of the passengers on that plane!

**********

Lillian’s fiction has appeared in Fantastic Stories, These Vampires Don’t Sparkle, and DAW’S Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI and XXII. Her Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” appeared in Weird Tales #322 and “Maeve” appeared in #333. Lillian reviews horror short fiction for TangentOnline. Visit her at lillian888.wordpress.com.

Press Release: Young Blood: The Nightbreed Saga: Book 1

Posted in News on March 16, 2015 by Horror Addicts Guest

Now in Print & eBook: Horror Novel “Young Blood: The Nightbreed”
from Rochester, New York Co-authors Phillip & Phillip Tomasso

March 1, 2015—Rochester, NY—Severed Press just released the 1st book in The Nightbreed Saga: YOUNG BLOOD. It is co-authored by father and son. Both authors are named Phillip Tomasso (III & IV), and use the mathematical “squared” (a raised #2)  symbol at the end of their last name. The former is an Award-winning, Amazon Best-selling novelist with 16 novels in print. The latter is a recent college graduate, and sales/marketing manager for a media company. The authors are available for interviews, & eCopies available for review upon request.

“Young Blood: The Nightbreed”— There is no escaping war when ancient evils haunt the present. . .Madison Young and her friends went to a parking lot carnival. That same night she is found with her throat mangled. When she wakes up in the hospital, she has no memory of any attack. The cravings start immediately. They confuse and frighten her, but she cannot deny them. As she starts remembering fragments from that night, she realizes more than just her life had been in danger–an unspeakable evil has tethered children to the inside of a trailer. Learning secret truths about her past, Madison is determined to track down the traveling carnival. Time is of the essence and sacrifices will have to made if she wants to save the stolen children. Her new found strength and abilities make her a perfect fit for a nightbreed of deadly and unlikely heroes. If she joins The Nightbreed will she find answers to her mounting questions? More importantly, will she find purpose for the creature she’s become?

YOUNG BLOOD: The Nightbreed                            Trade Paperback
Horror, Vampire, NA/New Adult, Superhero                        Forthcoming
eBook                                        ISBN-13: TBD
(ePub, Kindle & PDF formats — $2.99 USD)                        ISBN-10: TBD
ASIN: B00TXT4BGS

#  #  #

CONTACT *Phillip Tomasso * phillip@philliptomasso.com

Grant Me Serenity: Jerry

Posted in News on March 15, 2015 by Horror Addicts Guest

GMS

 

“My name is Jerry, and I’m an addict.”

Those words begin everything I say in group. Them’s the rules. There’s only five of us, but Len is pretty strict about sticking to the script. There are five of us. Len is our unofficial leader if for no other reason than he’s a control freak. About 55, Len is the one who starts meetings, redirects us when we get off topic, finds a time and a place for us to meet every week, and makes the coffee. That’s fine with me. I hate coffee.

Jessica is the group’s mother. It is she who brings in the coffee Len makes so horribly, as well as encouraging the timid to share their darkest secrets and tearing up the most frequently. Jessica is 34 and has lost everything. Her family died recently due to her addiction and she’s been having a hard time working through it. But this is a safe place.

Terrance is the sad little puppy of the group and the one who takes the most prodding from Jessica to open up fully. He has, however, never said anything boring, which cannot be said for the rest of us. A large part of the reason I so look forward to and enjoy our meetings is the running serial of Terrance’s life. None of his friends of family know of his addiction and his life is a running battle to keep it hidden, while the rest of us are single and not over-endowed with friends so his struggle is unique and fascinating. We all have bets placed upon how long his charade will last. Terrance has his own money down on this year’s holiday season. Holidays stress everyone out.

Last but not least is Paul, who insists that our five chairs form a pentagon rather than a circle, or some irregular polygon. The reason is obvious upon listening to him share, and it’s easier to be a pentagon than argue. Paul is a 23 year old kid who isn’t yet a full-blown addict and sought out our group in an effort to slow the process. So far it’s having only limited success, but now we have a junior member to set up and break down the five folding chairs.

Now, though, it was my turn. I had relapsed over the weekend and if you’re not being honest in these groups, you may as well not waste your time going to meetings.

“So everything was fine,” I say, fidgeting with the little coffee stir-straw. “The first two nights I watched TV and had a few drinks. There wasn’t anything wrong and a relapse was the farthest thing from my mind, you know? Just a really nice mellow relaxing weekend.”

Nods all around. They knew all right. We had all relapsed. Nothing could happen as a result, or it could cost you everything.

“Anyway, I go to bed Sunday night, thinking, ‘I got this.’ Then came Monday.” I shake my head. “Three day weekends are murder. Before noon I was going crazy and before I knew it I was out looking. Took a while, but I finally found someone, and…you know.

“After it was done, I felt like shit. Freaking out. What if I’ve really fucked myself this time? I panicked, hid all the evidence and hightailed it home, and I haven’t left since, except to come to the meeting tonight.” I sigh. “I don’t even know if I enjoy doing it anymore, but I can’t help it either, you know? And once I calm down and I’m sure no one saw me, the adrenaline’s worn off and I feel better. How else am I supposed to get that kind of relief?”

Finishing with a rhetorical question seems weak but I have no more words, it seems. I mumble something that hopefully sounds like “thanks” and sit down.

Following the perfunctory yammerings of “thank you Jerry” there is silence. Then Paul speaks up.

“Does it ever get easier? Do any of you have any tricks to make it less of a problem to control yourselves?”

Some eyes turn to Len, the unofficial leader and officially senior member. He nods slowly. “Well, I had way more than my fair share of such things when I was younger, so maybe I got it more out of my system than some of the rest of you. In those days, giving in to those urges was easier, before law enforcement started to catch up. Nowadays, even though people get arrested for it every day, it can be difficult, but with the fear of God and Johnny Law, I haven’t slipped up in…” His eyes look up, ruminating. “…five years next April.”

We applaud him dutifully.

Terrance opens his mouth and gets no further than an “um” before lapsing back into silence, staring at a spot on the ground. Jessica pokes him. She doesn’t let up and eventually Terrance speaks rather than be poked to death.

“Sometimes…just…sometimes…thinking about my family…what they would say if they knew…” he trails off, staring into space. We wait a few beats. A few more. Len coughs. Terrance rejoins reality with an almost audible thump. “Sometimes that helps,” he finishes, and smiles at his coffee.

“Terrific. No problem,” Paul grumbles. “I’ll just go get married and have some kids.”

Terrance looks alarmed. “Well it doesn’t always work, Paul. Remember, sometimes -” but we are spared a soliloquy upon the obvious by the nature of Paul’s sarcasm mercifully dawning on Terrance and he grins foolishly as we all chuckle, dropping his smile back into his coffee.

Jessica speaks up. “Sometimes, your relapse destroys your family, and before you know what’s happened, you have to live with the knowledge that if you could control yourself, they’d still be here with you…” The familiar sight of tears glimmer in her eyes as she attempts to control her voice spiraling into a whine. “I didn’t care that they were my family at the time, I just needed to get my fix.” A sob escapes. “I’d give anything to have them back…”

“Thank you, Jessica,” we all murmur, giving her shoulder clumsy but comforting pats. She sniffles and smiles through her tears.

“Thanks, guys…”

A gentle “ahem” from the doorway to the church basement and we all jump. The group leader for the local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter reminds us that drunks need to vent, cry, and confess as well. Len nods and stands.

“C’mon everybody, pentagon up.”

The rasp of our five chairs as we stand. It occurs to me as my hands are enclosed that Paul wouldn’t need to bother putting the chairs away with an AA group on our heels. Then we stand in the pentagon, hands clasped, repeating the words so damnably familiar to the users and abusers of alcohol and drugs.

“God, grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We finish with a hearty “Amen!” and high fives. I feel a bit silly with the AA guys starting to trickle in, but who cares. I give their group leader a big grin on the way out.

“You guys have a good meeting, ok?” I am all smiles.

“Always do!” His own smile broadens. “What group are you all with? Al-anon?”

“Nope.”

“Narcotics Anonymous?”

“Nope,” I say, my smile never faltering. Shut up already.

“Well whatever it is, why don’t you stick around for our meeting? It might help your own recovery. Can’t hurt it, anyway! After all, a drug is a drug is a drug, right?”

I feel my smile start to slip and yank it back into place. “Thanks, but we kind of like doing our own thing. It works for us, you know, for our recovery, and we wouldn’t want to fuck that up would we?” I stretch my smile wider, feeling like the top of my head must pop off at any moment.

“No no no, in fact I was just saying…” he begins, unwinding his tongue for a tedious sermon I had certainly heard before and one he had doubtless delivered a thousand times. So I stop him.

“I hate to interrupt but I’ve got to get home to my dog. I love pets, they really give you a reason to wake up every day, you know?” My smile now feels permanent. Eternal.

He blathers on, assuring me (and my fictional dog) that we are welcome at any meeting he holds and God bless us. I thank him profusely and exit, not before seeing him practically bound across the room to accost poor Terrance.

“So, young man, what group are you guys with?”

I hear Terrance start to splutter an answer before mercifully being cut off by the AA leader’s speech. Then, I’m outside, in the fresh air and the quiet accompanying a residential neighborhood at 8pm on a weeknight. I stride down the sidewalk to a bus station and after five minutes of hiding my impatience, a bus trundles up and gestures me aboard.

We roll around to several empty stops, then hit the freeway. After a short acceleration to freeway speed, we exit for the industrial district which harbors the bus stop nearest where I sleep. Right now I can’t afford an apartment, but I don’t need much. A 10×10′ storage space in a complex of five hundred is good enough. At this hour especially. I can count on privacy.

I punch my code into the box and the electric gate whirs open. I enter, and it closes silently behind me. My shadow orbits me as I walk under rows of fluorescent bulbs, heading around the side of the building where there are no cameras. At the northeast corner, a door stands, looking impassive, but experience has taught me a credit card will easily slip it open. One swipe of my AmEx and I’m inside. My storage space is protected by two padlocks, and I pause before unlocking, listening. Nothing breaks the silence. Good.

A turn of the key and the lock lays in my hand. Into a pocket, then a new key, and the second padlock stands aside. I roll up the door and step inside, rolling it down behind me. I snap the padlock on a hasp I had installed on the inside, and flick on the the light.

Chained to an exposed rafter, a girl dangles from her wrists, handcuffs tossed over the rafter, her toes barely dragging the floor. She wears a knee length blue skirt and a plain white blouse, now spattered with blood and dirt. Her chin hangs to her chest and dirty blond hair covers her face. That’s fine though. I don’t want to see her face. In fact, I might just take it off first. I open the drawer of a dresser to the right of the door, revealing numerous sharp objects glinting like teeth.

When I had relapsed on the third day of a three day weekend, I had been perfectly

honest. I hadn’t left my space until it was time to catch the bus to the meeting. I told the truth at the meeting. I had relapsed, panicked, dumped the bodies in the sewer, ran home, and I hadn’t come out until it was time for the meeting. Everything was fine.

Until I saw the girl.

Who is she? Just someone who caught my eye.

That’s why I was late to this meeting. It took time to convince her to come back to my place. By the time she was immobile and unconscious, I was already late. But I think the time will be worthwhile. After all, I’ll have something new to discuss in the next group. As Jessica had been unable to prevent her own addiction from rising up and murdering her family, burning the bodies as she laughed delightedly, sometimes you can’t control your urges. Paul told us that if we read about him in the papers, not to blame ourselves for the group failing him. Terrance is sure he won’t last the holidays. Just because Len had had so many more years to get it out of his system without forensic science hounding him didn’t mean he could control himself.

I wonder once again if there is any hope for us at all as I make my selection from the blades, shut the drawer, and turn back to the unconscious girl. I don’t realize it, but as I walk towards her, I am praying.

“Grant me the serenity, to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

**********

Jesse Orr was born and raised in Alaska and has no idea, nor do his parents, when or how he began reading and writing; as is the case with so many things, they just are. Moving to Seattle in 2007, he settled down to a life of recording and performing music as well as writing whatever caught his fancy. He has a dog named Mr Dog and lives in West Seattle.
https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

Black Jack

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by David Watson

Final6x9-200x300Hey Horror Addicts, On this season of the horror addict’s podcast we will once again be having an audio drama that will be running season long. Starting with episode 111 you will be able to hear Dan Shaurette’s story Black Jack. Dan is a  staff writer at horroraddicts.net and his story Black Magic ran during season 8 of the horror addict podcast. Black Jack will be a full audio production with multiple voices and sound effects that you won’t want to miss. To get a feel for what to expect from Dan’s story I asked him a few questions about his work:

What is your story about?
Without giving away too much, the story is about Jacob Springer and his investigation into who killed his mother. It is set around the murderous reign of terror committed by Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel, 1888.

What inspired you to write it?
While writing Black City, my current novel in progress, I created Jacob Springer initially as a throwaway character, but he wasn’t too keen on that. He’s a bit of a rogue, you see. So as he became more involved in the story, I gave him a back-story, which evolved into this tale, Black Jack. Much like the side bits I discovered while writing Black Magic, it was the discovery of butchered bodies dumped in the Thames River and around town that are not (usually) attributed to Jack the Ripper. These killings started about a year or so before, occurred during, and lasted a year or two after Jack’s ripping spree took place. They made headlines, usually being blamed on Jack, but the police kept them separate while investigating because they were a different style of mutilations. It was the story of a victim who was unnamed at first, but later called “Fairy Fay”, that gave me the core of the tale.

5791268Who are some of the voices who will be in it?
In addition to Emerian Rich who brings voice to three different characters, my good friends and local podcasters Jack Mangan and Dani Cutler were roped in to help. Murdo Morrison and Mat Weller who voiced MacGillivray and Black in Black Magic are back. I also worked with Lucie Le Blanc again, who provided the voice of Abby from my Masters of Macabre story a few years back. She directed me to contact the phenomenal Veronica Giguere. Rounding out the cast are Pete Lutz, Sean Young, Glenn Hibburt, and Ted Wenskus, all of whom answered the call online for voices, and each and every one has been a pleasure to work with, and I hope to work with them again.

What can we expect in upcoming episodes?
Fairies, demons, and serial killers, oh my. Oh yes, there will be blood and gore. Gee, I hope this is the right place for that.

What do you like about this time period?
Especially this time period, the one dominated by Jack the Ripper, I find it fascinating researching the life and time of these people. Whitechapel was a piss-poor place to live back then, and the Ripper was a truly frightening killer. It was a dark and horrifying time and the mystery of who Jack the Ripper really was lingers to this day. In this story, I advance my theory as to who the Ripper might have been — had they been assisted by some supernatural elements, of course.

Is it related to your story Black Magic or Lilith’s Love?
Black Jack is a direct prequel to my novel, Black City, which Black Magic was a parallel story to. In Black City, Jacob Springer teams up with Matt Black and Andrew MacGillivray to find out who is killing women during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. If my stories were compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these would be two stand-alone origin stories with Black City being The Avengers. With that analogy, Lilith’s Love is like one of the Spider-man movies — it came out a long time ago and you know the stories are connected somehow.

How long did it take to produce an episode?
Once everyone turns in their recorded lines to me, it takes me at least a week to edit everything together with sound effects and music to make one episode… which runs less than 10 minutes.

Will you eventually turn this into a book?
Yes, just as I did with Black Magic, I will edit and publish Black Jack. Then I have to finish up Black City before I go insane. You know, again. After that, I have so many more stories to tell, I promise, you haven’t heard the last from the Black Books.

 

For more information on Dan check out his website:

http://dan.shaurette.com/

Evil Sirens Sweetly Singing

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on March 13, 2015 by LillianC

by Lillian Csernica

 

mindyarn.blogspot.com

Wake to the world of the darkness

Wake! to the world of the Night.

Burn with the fires of Hecate

Ache with the Devil’s delight.

 

Live in the land of Jung’s Shadow

Dance in the mind’s shady gloom

Dive into Charon’s black waters

Swing on the bellrope of Doom!

 

Hark to the Muse of the Lethe

Smash sanity’s last painful shard

Revel with your nightmare secrets

Give voice to the soul’s darkest bard.

 

Cry with your soul’s hundred voices

Fling wide the crypt in your heart

Bathe in the hungers within you

Damnation is only the start!

**********

Lillian’s fiction has appeared in Fantastic Stories, These Vampires Don’t Sparkle, and DAW’S Year’s Best Horror Stories XXI and XXII. Her Christmas ghost story “The Family Spirit” appeared in Weird Tales #322 and “Maeve” appeared in #333. Lillian reviews horror short fiction for TangentOnline. Visit her at lillian888.wordpress.com.

 

Kbatz: One Step Beyond Season 1

Posted in News with tags , , on March 12, 2015 by kbattz

One Step Beyond Season 1 Pleasantly Paranormal

By Kristin Battestella

On a whirlwind whim, I plunged into the First Season of the 1959 speculative anthology series One Step Beyond. Despite its shorter length and oft comparisons as the inferior, poor man’s Twilight Zone, this debut is a pleasant, thinking person’s spin on the unexplained.

onestepbeyondPerhaps director and host John Newland (The Man Who Never Was, The Loretta Young Show) does introduce these twenty-two, twenty-five minute episodes in Sterling-esque fashion, but there’s none of The Twilight Zone’s depression or moody during the thirty second openings or ending tags – which claim these tales are real and based on true accounts. Although One Step Beyond begins with too many standard plots such as possession, ghosts or haunted houses, death, children trapped in mines, and even creepy dolls and Titanic tales amid the assorted paranormal phenomenon, there’s an entertaining, classy style to the irony. Some otherwise fine examinations on prophetic dreams, war stories, and executions may happen too many episodes in a row, but old-fashioned sophistication balances with the bizarre and unease. Nowadays we’ve probably seen all these plots before, but some outcomes are unexpected and even tender, innocent, or touching. Then scandalous talk of domestic unhappiness, alcoholism, and divorce or suggestive suggestions on abuse, rape, and family guilt, and surprising but now tame curses like jackass also standout along with fresh analysis on hypnosis, coincidence, synchronicity, clairvoyance, spirituality, Indian mysticism, Biblical parallels, and faith. Not everything is always explained or tidy at the end of each show, and this fact or fiction, believe it or not style might annoy modern audiences who expect complete clarification. However, it’s also pleasing to see television that leaves the viewer thinking on the how and why.
One Step Beyond creators/writers/producers Merwin Gerard (Mrs. Columbo, Daniel Boone) and Collier Young (Ironside, The Hitch-Hiker) and writer Don Mankewicz (I Want to Live!) would seem to have fine concepts and ideas without finish, but the stories are fleshed with enough drama, suspense, and fine casting to enthrall. Though it doesn’t seem as if One Step Beyond has as many stars as other anthology shows, there are a lot of recognizable faces from other classic television programs behind the scenes and onscreen. From Charles Beaumont’s (The Twilight Zone) penning of “The Captain’s Guests,” Ross Martin (Wild Wild West) in “Echo”, and Patrick Macnee (The Avengers) in “The Night of April 14th” to Cloris Leachman (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) in “The Dark Room”, Beverly Washburn (Old Yeller) in “Premonition,” Mike Connors (Mannix) and Yvette Vickers (Attack of the 50 Foot Woman) in “The Aerialist,” and Werner Klemperer (Hogan’s Heroes) in “The Haunted U-Boat,” there are plenty of stars anchoring the superior episodes. One Step Beyond gets better as it goes on thanks to prophetic circumstances and train suspense in “Emergency Only,” to close to home WWII fears in “The Dream,” and not often seen WWI inspiration in “The Vision.” Latent lesbianism and Carrie like pyrotechnics also stand out in “The Burning Girl” with Luana Anders (The Pit and the Pendulum), Edward Platt (Get Smart), and Olive Deering (Samson and Delilah). This episode is so pre-Carrie Carrie it’s shockingly Firestarter – a “Dirty, no good devil, witch” girl not allowed to dress up and go to the party by her angry, jealous, nutty dominating aunt because she “starts fires from within her” indeed. Of course, the episode calls the scenario a case of spontaneous combustion instead of pyrokinesis, but I guess we didn’t know much about either in the fifties!

 

Granted, some of these colloquialisms, dated dialogue, and bad fake accents hamper the more put on, substandard players and make for a stock company feeling on One Step Beyond. However, the sometimes goofy acting, melodramatic screams, and serious face contortions aren’t so bad as to make any episodes here in Season 1 unwatchable – although some contemporary audiences may find a few old-fashioned statements confusing or amusing: “When he has something to drink, he is gay.” On the other hand, of the time masochism is more uncomfortable. Women can’t drive and always get hysterical – but at least they are good looking! It’s understood that men are entitled to spend the night on the town with other women, but they can never believe the women telling them something is afoot. This doesn’t ruin One Step Beyond, but the mostly white casting, stereotypical Italian portrayals, and further racism are definitely noticeable today. African American or Asian characters are subservient porters or servants with hardly any lines or development –if they are seen at all – yet it’s surprising to see Nazi soldiers depicted somewhat sympathetically on early American television. Fortunately, there is a certain grace and chemistry with the smaller cast – often only two or three billed players – and the well plotted, intriguing, and speedy tales forgive any datedness. Actually, the lack of out there, science fiction tales, or pop music, and mid century references and other fad stylings keeps One Step Beyond from being irrevocably dated. Well, except for the separate beds!

 

The sweet classic cars, men in suits, old-fashioned nurse get ups, casual smoking and drinking, fedoras, old onscreen cameras, circus fun, and swanky furniture we do see on One Step Beyond, however, are indeed mid century cool. There’s even an early Ouija board plot appearance! Some period dressings, turn of the century settings, and WWI designs probably aren’t that accurate and reused set pieces and décor are apparent at times, of course. The large, ornately dressed sets, costumes, and American and British themes, however, suggest enough time and place for the atmosphere and mood – foreign, old world appearances, French and Spanish accents, and even nautical tales and The Blitz add further flair, too. I suspect what wide shots and special effects footage we do see is borrowed stock, but good fog and lighting seamlessly hide any reused material. It’s also refreshing to just have the one and two camera, over the shoulder, standard production letting scenes play out as intended up to the twists instead of today’s in your face CGI. I have to say though, what is this Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond sponsorship and titling?

Though available on several retro channels, in syndication, and thru streaming options like Netflix and Hulu Plus, public domain offerings varying in quality and incomplete compilation DVDs make viewing all three seasons of One Step Beyond difficult. Only One Step Beyond: The Official First Season is properly available, with the remaining episodes from Seasons 2 and 3 mostly elusive. Other best of compilations and volume sets do not have all the episodes, and erroneous listings and show inclusions or exclusions are confusing or downright infuriating for a completist. Fortunately, the speedy availability, short duration, and fine anthology quality of this First Season of One Step Beyond is a quick, family friendly fix for classic television fans and spooky audiences looking to get their bizarre viewing on – audiences of other anthology series should definitely take One Step Beyond.

Free Horror Contest! Killer Prizes!

Posted in News on March 11, 2015 by Horror Addicts Guest

 

 

InkittContest

 

Inkitt

Write a horror story that will have people running for cover!

Inkitt, a free platform for writers to cultivate their ideas and watch their stories grow, is holding their second horror writing contest this month! Inkitt is a place where writers and readers collaborate, giving each other feedback and improving their work. Inkitt wants to help writers get the exposure they deserve and the publishing deals they covet without suffering the frustrations and and bias of traditional printing and self-publishing.

The theme of Inkitt’s March horror contest is “Running Scared: The Most Terrifying Tale Ever Told.” In the tradition of classic horro flicks and monster movies, they want the freakiest, flashiest fables you can come up with. Make them scream!

Inkitt is accepting all frightening fiction up to 15,000 words. The contest opens on March 3rd and closes on March 31st. It’s free to enter, and you’ll retain all rights to any work submitted. By collecting the most community votes, the top 10% of entries will be bumped into judging by Inkitt’s guest judges (horror authors J.D. Horn, Armand Rosamilia, and J. Thorn). They’re pretty unshakeable guys, so pull out all the stops to get them quaking in their boots!

Win and you’ll receive a petrifying prize package, including Amazon gift cards and Inkitt custom mugs. The first place winner will also get a custom poster spotlighting their story! Readers, be on your toes too: there’s an Amazon gift card up for grabs for one lucky reviewer!

Got gore on your mind and fear in your heart? Enter the contest now at http://www.inkitt.com/runningscared for all the (literal) guts and glory!

InkittPrizes

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